Each year during the days of our celebration of Christmas we come upon the feast of the Holy Family. In some years this feast falls on a week day and so does not receive all the attention we will give it this year as the fest comes on the Sunday following the Birth of Jesus. The feast is actually the rather personal fulfillment of a part of Jewish tradition when the first born child is presented in the temple. Mary and Joseph are fulfilling this ritual as we read in today’
It happens that while they are in the temple they meet a very old and very holy man named Simeon. Simeon takes the child in his arms and blesses him giving a prophecy saying that ‘this child is destined for the rise and fall of many.’ Before they leave the temple Simeon also gives a prophecy for Mary saying that a ‘sword of sorrow shall pierce your heart.’ Mary and Joseph then leave and make the return journey to Nazareth where they will spend the years raising the child Jesus who, as the gospel says ‘he would grow in wisdom and strength and the grace of God would be upon him.’
Blessings, prophecy and mystery they will come to know only in God’s good time when and how these mysteries and prophecies will be fulfilled. When we stop and think about it, that’s what happens in our lives too. We are all given blessings from the Lord, perhaps many we do not see or understand at once. We are given prophetic messages as well, they are simply a part of living life, growing up, parents wondering what their children will become.
This year as we are at the closing days of what has been a year of much suffering, wondering why there has been so much sickness and death, wondering what the next year will be for us. Will it be filled with rich blessings, will we be challenged with continuing sickness and worry, how will we make it through these difficult times?
Well, the New Year is almost upon us and the one thing we know for sure is that there will be a lot of mystery, that is to say a lot of unfolding of challenges, and hopefully blessings too. I would like to offer a suggestion for all of us as we face this new year of 2021. Like Mary and Joseph making the journey back to Nazareth after presenting Jesus in the temple they certainly spent a lot of time wondering what was to be, maybe some time worrying but most of all some time in prayer, alone and with each other. With all that had already happened in their young lives they have come to accept surprises and challenges, sacrifices and promises to be fulfilled.
Let’s each and every one of us take some time on the journey of our lives, even the journey of these last few days of 2020 and our first glimpse of 2021 and put all our trust in the Lord. We must remember that there is a lot of mystery in the lives of everyone. For some reason that’s just how the Lord has chosen to unfold our lives. With trust and a pledge of our love for the Lord we will make the journey of our lives and the Lord will watch over us and protect us. He always does!
I want to wish each and everyone my wishes for a truly Blessed New Year!